We heard someone say this to a group of friends, “You’ll go to hell for that!” Their tone was mocking and derogatory.
You might be familiar with the scene…a person calls attention to a broken standard. It might be an action, or a word spoken, or a clothing style. But their goal isn’t to help. Their goal is to make light of that standard or rule and prove it to be artificial and legalistic.
I don’t know if it’s who I hang out with, but I haven’t heard that phrase in a long time! Or maybe I’m just that old! Eee gads! (See what I mean!) Or maybe it was from being raised in a Catholic home. Back then we were always worried about God’s fist coming down from heaven to discipline us. Bad teaching, I know!
The Motives Behind Our Words
Well, this got me to thinking. How often do we avoid doing something based on what the outcome is for us, rather than taking time to consider God’s view of it? Unfortunately, this little phrase about going to hell reveals a very different motive. What’s really being said is that we’re more worried about how it affects us than God, our Creator, our Lord!
Not wearing something inappropriate for the situation to avoid “going to hell”; not speaking a curse word because we might get in trouble; not looking at a questionable website for fear someone will find out; or anything else you can think of….these are not good enough reasons to avoid the action. God tells us in His word that He is to be the reason we live, and move, and have our being! His standards. His wisdom. His ways. He is why we exist. And He desires that our lives glorify Him.
So the next time you’re tempted to worry about “going to hell” or being punished for something you’re doing, wearing, or thinking, please consider the most important outcome of all – how it affects God and His reputation.
Remember, you are His representative while you’re on earth.
Your outcome is slight compared to His reputation!
Teach this to your children. Teach them well. To God be the glory.
“…they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Acts 17:27-28